Augmented and Virtual Reality: What Are They?

Both augmented and virtual reality use simulations of real-world environments to either enhance or completely replace them. Using the camera on a smartphone, augmented reality (AR) typically enhances your surroundings by adding digital features to a live view. Virtual reality (VR) is an entirely immersive experience that substitutes the real world for a simulated environment.

Augmented Vs. Virtual Reality

In augmented reality, a virtual environment is integrated into the real world, by adding layers and details to provide the user with additional data about the real world. For instance, pointing a handset at a piece of failing equipment triggers an industrial AR app to provide instant troubleshooting information.

Virtual reality is a complete environment simulation that fully substitutes the person's environment with a virtual world. Since these simulations are completely made up, the designers are free to come up with a wide variety of realities. The most popular applications of virtual reality are in the games and entertainment industry, product design, training, architecture, among others.

Virtual reality (VR) seeks to isolate users from the outside world as much as possible. To fully replace the real environment with the virtual one, people wear eye-covering headsets and headphones which dampen one’s sense of the real world and replace them with simulated ones.

On the other side, augmented reality merges the virtual world with the real one. For the majority of applications, the user views the scene on a smartphone or tablet screen by pointing the camera of the device at a point of interest and creating a live-streaming video of that scene. The screen then displays useful information in the form of applications like as maintenance manuals, navigational instructions, or diagnostic data.

While both virtual reality and augmented reality are intended to provide users with a simulated world, each premise is distinct and has different applications. Aside from entertainment scenarios, businesses are increasingly utilizing augmented reality thanks to its capability to create informational layers that prove beneficial in real-world scenarios.

Examples of Augmented Reality

IKEA Place: By placing a 3D model of the item over a live video feed of your space, the Ikea Place smartphone app lets you see Ikea furniture in your own home.

Phone apps: Through a live selfie, YouCam and Snapchat Makeup enable users to visually test real-life cosmetics.

Sports: Augmented reality is being used in several sports to provide participants with real-time statistics and to enhance physical preparation.

Use Cases of Augmented Reality in Business

Most AR's current use cases are in the commercial and corporate sectors. Key instances include:

Design and construction — Designers use it to see how potential products (or structures) appear in actual settings and to virtually alter current products without changing them physically. It's the most common and successful application of augmented reality today.

Maintenance and repairs — Using augmented reality (AR) technology, technicians can be guided through the process of fixing, modernizing, and maintaining a variety of items, from large structures to industrial machinery. By superimposing comprehensive instructions, which are frequently visual, over the machinery itself, augmented reality (AR) enables technicians to work on equipment without consulting printed manuals or websites.

Training and education–Companies are utilizing augmented reality (AR) technology to give employees an immersive training experience, enabling them to more fully comprehend new products and concepts. Schools are doing the same.

Healthcare–AR technology is now being used in operating rooms to display overlays that depict the crucial steps of an operation, the patient's vital signs, and more.

Retail–Companies are adopting AR to give retail customers a redesigned, contemporary augmented reality experience, including virtual makeup and virtual changing rooms when they buy or are about to make a purchase.

Technology–Tools like Splunk AR enable major utility companies to respond more quickly to power outages and to have complete insight into all of their data.

Marketing — Using augmented reality (AR) concepts in processes like packaging, point-of-sale materials, and advertisements, businesses can now interact with customers in a completely new and far more memorable way.

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